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CommerceOne sets Web services course

Can Web services champions convince skeptical corporate IT managers that this emerging technology can make it safe to spread the confidential data outside the firewall? Struggling CommerceOne, once an Internet high flyer, is betting big that the model can work.

Industry watchers said the Pleasanton, Calif.-based business-to-business software developer is betting the farm on its ability to establish itself in this space with the unveiling last week of a new product line designed to leverage Web services for EAI.

The unveiling followed on the heels of news that CommerceOne sales plunged dramatically in Q2 compared with the same quarter last year. Revenues for the three months ended June 30 totaled $27.8 million, compared with $101.3 million for the same quarter last year, and $31.8 million for the quarter ended March 31.

During a conference call with financial analysts, Commerce One officials disclosed plans to institute a reverse one-for-ten stock split to shore up the stock price.

''Our results continue to reflect very limited IT spending across all geographic and vertical markets,'' said CEO Mark Hoffman during the call. ''However, we are seeing growth in the qualified pipeline for our Commerce One suite while we build on our foundation in sourcing and procurement by developing our new Web services solutions.''

Those Web services solutions, targeted for beta availability in Q4, will also power Commerce One 6.0, a new suite of supplier relationship management (SRM) Web services that will extend value beyond existing sourcing and procurement applications.

Commerce One plans to ''redefine application integration and development by leveraging its technology assets to deliver a collaborative Web services platform,'' executives said. The new platform ''integrates applications within and outside the enterprise, orchestrating information flow and business processes with a powerful business process management engine. By linking separate applications together in this unique way, companies will be able to create composite applications that deliver enhanced functionality and value.''

At least one analyst likes the plan: ''Commerce One's aggressive move into the collaborative infrastructure space and their leveraging of Web services standards positions them to expand into a key market,'' said Shawn Willett, principal analyst at Current Analysis. ''Commerce One is bringing a wealth of experience and some interesting technologies to bear on the problem of providing an infrastructure for Web services.''

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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